Monday’s (Really) Unpopular Opinion: Boycotting Films

Time to get off the side-lines

You don’t need to have read all of my articles, just one or two (but you really should read all of them, because I’m an engaging writer) to know that I’m not a fan of spoiler alarms. I don’t like to give too much away, because I want you to enjoy the movie I’m discussing. We are just a humble no-budget movie review site. We don’t go in for rubbing it in your face that we’ve seen something that you haven’t. You get a fair warning of the topic before you read it, it’s up to you if you go ahead. Also, we’re not a sensationalist site trying to grab your attention with outlandish claims and then when you get there it’s a load of unrelated nonsense, or forcing you to click-through 20 pages to read what you were interested in because advertisers pay per page visited. Buzzfeed has that covered. Yeah, take that Buzzfeed, shots fired. I’m the first person to point out your shady journalistic practices.
So it’s with a measured sense of apprehension that I say this…
SPOILER ALARM: You will not enjoy reading this article. None of what you are about to read is to provoke a reaction. If you don’t agree with it, feel free to keep your dumb fucking mouth shut, because arguing would only go to show that you haven’t understood what is being said in the vein that it’s intended. Or if you did read it as intended and hate it, then you have a different political view-point to me and I’m not interested in explaining why you should care about people. I get enough of that every week during an eight-minute phone call with my Tory-parents.

Harvey Weinstein.
There you go. Your brain just flooded with dopamine because over the past month you have been conditioned to react in a certain way.
He is a bad guy. You know he is a bad guy. So you can get on your high horse or your soap box and lash out and feel good about yourself. There is no way that what is about to be said can be of any intrinsic value, because your brain has already switched into mob mentality mode.
How about you just calm the fuck down for a second, or go find another site with an “Unpopular Opinion” section to see if you agree with that before you’ve read this.

For the apprehensively curious amongst you that are still here, well done. And yes, you’re right. I am in no way going to try to defend the actions of that monster. Sexual assault in all its forms is unforgivable and reprehensible. But knee-jerk reactions to the mere mention of it will get in the way of any progress, because everyone will just be kicking each other. Probably in the butt. Because that’s the most convenient place to accidentally kick someone.

I believe deep down in my soul that the world is a terrible place. Because of humanity. We are the absolute worst. Despite what every movie will tell you. I wish I could think of more examples off the top of my head, but let’s just go with The Fifth Element (1997) because I’ve reviewed it before and it explains succinctly what I’m getting at.
This Supreme Being comes back to life after centuries away, and amongst all the action has to learn about modern life by reading every entry on Encarta (which was the internet on a disc before most people knew the internet). She eventually gets to “W” and learns about war and decides that Earth isn’t worth saving.
“What’s the use of saving life when you see what you do with it?”
Bruce “Corbin Dallas” Willis convinces her that love is enough to save the world. And he does it with a kiss. Because that’s a Hollywood movie. I love this movie. But I don’t agree with its final sentiment. I agree with Leeloo up until that point. Bruce is shaking her to life “Listen, I know you’re very tired. I’ll take you on a vacation…”

Well I’m really fucking tired. I’m tired of the world that we live in. It’s exhausting. The kind of tired that sleep can’t cure. Justify it how you want by your modicums of freedom, but we are all slaves.
Have you ever noticed that the moral of most films is that we should reject materialism and greed, because true happiness comes from raising a family? A Christmas Carol (1951); Scrooged (1988); Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009); The Muppet’s Christmas Carol (1992); to name but a small handful of films I’ll be watching instead of going home around late December this year. There are a tonne of other examples, but Christmas films are typically propaganda so it’s a good jumping off point (yes I’m aware that these are all the exact same story through different prisms).
Why do you think that Hollywood is telling you that love and family is better than money and power and success? Because it’s true and the successful, powerful, rich executives in Hollywood really want your suburban life? No. They want to quell your ambition so you don’t try to take their power, and money, and success. If you’re bombarded with this same message, eventually it eeks into your brain as the true meaning of life. Subliminal messaging isn’t a thing. Super-liminal messaging is very much a thing. Nike or McDonalds isn’t splicing single frames into their adverts to make you buy their product. They put it fucking everywhere so you’re bombarded with it. And movies are the same. Disney especially. Do you think a single Disney executive has ever spent a day at “the happiest place on earth” with his family? Possibly, but not on a day when you and your paeans would also be there.
Just keep breeding. Don’t try to think about it too much. Your family struggle is more rewarding than being someone significant. That’s right, your biological predisposition to procreate is important. Creating a child is a miracle, despite it happening literally millions of times per day.
Nope. A real miracle is the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team beating Russia.

The Gods Must be Crazy (1980) has it’s opening montage explaining that we’ve created a world so complicated it takes 15 years just to learn how to live in it. While the African tribe that is the focus of the film have tranquil lives of hunting when they need to eat, and that’s it. Until a coke bottle enters their world and becomes the devil. Go and watch that film right now and argue that your life is better than simplicity. It’s a perfect allegory for corporations infecting civility. Although the majority of the film turns into a slapstick pile of nonsense.

10,000 years ago some tosser invented agriculture so we didn’t have to work so hard when it was cold. That lead to bartering, if you want something you have to give me something, either property, or time, or yourself. Which lead to money so we could keep track of all these IOUs. And now we have the world around us. We can’t change that. Everything that we have, and the morals that we’ve given up along the way have happened by degrees. Value has been put on all goods and services.
America isn’t the only culprit of trading morals, but they are a great example just by looking at the gun debate. Every other western civilization thinks the fact they have so many gun deaths is mental. But they’re just in an alternate universe where they gradually eeked towards gun ownership, while the rest of us didn’t. But we all have our own trade-off system.
With that kind of perspective, now look at the world around you, and the things that we accept, because they happened once, a long time ago. And now they happen all the time, and we shrug it off like “Yeah, it’s awful, but what are you gonna do?” That’s how it feels to be an American. Have you ever had a friend stuck in an abusive relationship that you couldn’t talk them out of? It’s the same, only the stakes are higher.

There is most likely a chemical imbalance in my brain that makes me “mentally unhealthy” by conventional standards, but could you argue that I’m wrong when I say, as I have many times “If this world was completely perfect and everyone lived in abject happiness, no-one wanted for anything they couldn’t have, we lived in harmony with no greed, but in the entirety of human history there had been one single rape, then that is too much, and humans don’t deserve to exist”. Would you call me an extremist? Am I depressed because I feel that way. Or are you too accepting because you don’t?

Would you accept one rape? Is one ok? There are billions of us. And every 50 years or so there is a billion more, going back thousands of years. But one person is going to get raped. You’re ok with that? Obviously not.

Now there’s a second rape. And a third. 99 rapes…?
Ok, so this is just a thing we do now, so let’s accept it.

And now it’s 2017. How many people (mainly women, the “weaker” of the species that men are supposed to protect) have been raped? Can you even begin to put a number on it?
Well, it happened by degrees. So we accept it. Put out heads down and try not to think about it too much, because we’d rather just get through our own existence. Let’s just treat them like the homeless, and the starving kids in third world countries. I have nowhere else in this article to put this point, so it goes here. No, I don’t know how to stop this. I don’t have the power to change the world. But I do have the power to not add to the problem. And that is one of the main reasons I had a vasectomy. Children are great. But they grow up to be adults. Think about all the adults you know. How many of them would you be proud to call your child? Exactly. I’ve been a gambler since I was 15. I know a thing or two about odds, and that is not a risk I’m willing to take.

I’m not a Hollywood insider. I have an interest in the film industry probably more than the average person, but I don’t pretend to have knowledge of its goings on other than what I read on IMDb’s trivia page, or from listening to podcasts and watching stand-up specials and reading the news.
But was I shocked to hear that a powerful producer had convinced women to have sex with him? No. And I’m aware that phrasing makes it sound like the women always had a choice in the matter. I am confident that the “convincing” was more often than not a form of threatening or bullying.

Is there a chance that some of the victims (and fucking bear with me because you’re not going to like this) were aware of the situation they were facing and weighed it up as an acceptable cost of being famous? Quite probably. For some it was the bartering of their bodies to gain fame. Does that make it excusable that a man in a position of power should take advantage of a woman’s desire to be a famous actress? Go fuck yourself. Of course not.

Every day we put our faith and trust in the people more powerful than us. Policemen, politicians, teachers, bosses, doctors, parents. They are supposed to be our protectors. But if you’ve ever played “Sims” or “Civilisation” you should be acutely aware of how easily corruptible that position of power can become.
The policeman that beats an ethnic minority he doesn’t like; the politician that votes to raise taxes on the poor; teachers that date their naïve pupils; bosses that fire staff they don’t like for whatever reason; doctors that euthanise patients without consent, undermining the Hippocratic oath; parents that beat their children for any minor reason… If you’ve never heard of all of these things happening then I’m dumbfounded that you made it this far in to the internet to find our site.

The most shocking thing about the Weinstein “allegations” (I’ve put that in quotes, because at this point I consider them to be fact, but I don’t want to get sued by him, cos I think he’ll be desperate for the money pretty soon) is that anyone was shocked by them. Maybe not him in particular, but producers in general? Of course they manipulate wannabe actresses into having sex with them. There’s literally a whole section of YouPorn dedicated to “Casting Couch” where a porn actress pretends to be a regular actress who is being asked to do sexual stuff to get a part. Did you think that the porn producers are so imaginative to have invented a whole scenario that doesn’t exist? No. What Unicorn farm were you raised on?
Oh, the one in Vermont? Well, they’ve got such great Rainbow Stables there. Forgive me, I obviously wasn’t talking about you.
It’s that thing that we’ve known about for fucking ages. But it doesn’t affect us directly so what were we gonna do about it? Terry Wogan wasn’t going to host a telethon to get us donating money for fairer hiring practices in Hollywood, so who gives a shit?!

So why am I talking about this on a movie review website? Well because with the stream of accusations that are coming out, most of which will turn out to be true, we’re going to have to ask ourselves how much we care.

Back in the day when it was just Roman Polanski and Woody Allen, I didn’t much care. Woody Allen is just an over-rated got-there-first version of Larry David. However, he fucked and married his adopted daughter. That’s not cool. I’m gonna boycott his films. No skin off my nose, I didn’t like them anyway.
Roman Polanski? Sure. Fuck that guy. Chinatown (1974)? Fuck off. Dull noir murder detective movie about water rates with a cool final line. Quantum of Solace (2008) was about water rates but times gonna tell on that one being better than Polanski’s version.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968) was decent, and I love The Ninth Gate (1999). But an Oliver Twist (2005) remake and The Pianist (2002)? Fuck that guy. Sure. Yeah, I’ll boycott his films.

But they were directors. They make a film every couple of years. You could accidentally boycott them without knowing. It’s like being a vegetarian if the only meat that was considered meat was badger feet.
“Oh, I think it’s horrible what they do to badgers just to get their feet and put it in a stew”
“But you still eat chicken right?”
“Yeah, I fucking love chicken”
“Do you know how they cage chicken?”
“Fuck those guys. You ever had a Nandos?! That shit’s oneiric”

Here is a list of notable films that Harvey Weinstein has produced…
True Romance (1993).
I could stop there. Are you telling me you’re never going to watch True Romance again? That was just the first one chronologically that I came to. True Romance is EASILY in my top ten films ever made.
Pulp Fiction (1994) (True Romance for people who haven’t seen True Romance); The English Patient (1996) (that film your parents used to rent so you’d go and watch TV in the other room cos you were bored so they could finger each other); Scream (1996) (because we all secretly wanted to fuck murder victims); Mimic (1997) (we all did a lot of solvent abuse back in the late 90’s); Princess Mononoke (1997) (the wankers amongst us will make you feel like a twat for not having seen this); Cop Land (1997) (Stallone worked for basically no money so you’d start to take him seriously); Good Will Hunting (1997)…

GOOD WILL HUNTING!
Those are just the films between 1991-1997, and not even all of them. You have access to IMDb. Go have a look for yourself. Work out how many films you’re willing to give up because of your morals. Probably not that many, because it takes effort.

Kevin Spacey. Are you going to ignore Se7en (1995), The Usual Suspects (1995)  and L.A. Confidential (1997)?

Ben Affleck. Ok, so that’s a double-whammy for Good Will Hunting. And I’m aware that most people aren’t a Fan Beffleck like I am, but The Town (2010), Argo (2012), Gone Baby Gone (2007), Gone Girl (2014), Live by Night (2016)… this man is a genius who also did some inexplicable acts.

Sylvester Stallone. He was Rocky AND Rambo. That’s the war veteran John Rambo (not French poet Arthur Rimbaud). And he was Tango. And he was Philip Lock-Up. And David Cliffhanger. And Susan CopLand. And Bartholomew DontStopOrMyMumWillShoot. And I could play this game all day, but you get the point. And Gary Cobra.

I’m in danger of wandering close to the “but what about…” argument. One thing does not excuse the other. One thing doesn’t have anything to do with the other. These things are inexcusable. And punish them accordingly. But don’t discount their art.

Here is an extreme example to showcase my ignorance and to make a point… If Patty and Mildred Hill poisoned orphans, would you stop singing the “Happy Birthday” song?
And how about an example that actually exists? Have you ever visited any of the Seven Wonders of the World? Ok, well just name one of them… You went for the pyramids didn’t you? Good, cos I don’t want to research the rest of them either. The Pyramids of Giza are monuments that have existed for thousands of years before hydraulic cranes were around. How did they get there? Jews, mainly. Hundreds of thousands of Jews.
“Oh, so, like Jewish contractors?”
Nope. Slaves. They weren’t bidding for contracts. Just taken by force and whipped until they died or completed these gargantuan structures. Additional Spoiler Alarm, the percentage of them that were whipped to death is way higher than those that got to drink a glass of prosecco on completion day.

Do I really need to reiterate at this point that I am not condoning any of these actions? Any form of abuse of power, or moreover, sexual assault someone has committed has to be condemned. Let’s cut their balls off. And not even just cut them. Let’s stamp on them first, because that’s what really hurts. In fact there’s only one thing I know for sure would be more painful, and that’s if he had a perianal abscess that needed to be lanced. But don’t lance it straight away, make him live with it for about a week. I’ve been through that 5 times.
Nurses have told me it’s more painful than giving birth. Whether or not that were lying to make me feel like a big brave mummy’s little soldier, I don’t know. But that’s what they told me. And I believe them, because I will never give birth. But I’ve been through that pain numerous times and I wouldn’t wish it on my own worst enemies. That’s because even my enemies haven’t sexually assaulted women. My enemies are typically just Tories. And pig-fucking doesn’t count. (BTW, my parents are pig-fuckers).

I’m about to share something with you now that I have never admitted to another person, ever. EVER. Not Jimmy Pineapple, not Jesus, not Steve the Bear, not Andy the Bitch, not Jerly Joochbum, no-one whose nickname was potentially made up for this article, not even my own brother (because he cried like a little bitch the first time he found out about my self-harm and I didn’t want to offend his delicate sensibilities further) Luckily, because this is mainly promoted through Facebook I know they won’t read this…

Me too.

Yeah. #metoo.

I’ve always been quite cavalier about my sexual ambiguity. I have had five different penises in my life. That’s how I know I’m not gay, because I tried it several times.
I wore it as a badge of pride. Even though pride is a deadly sin.
I go to Gay Pride rallies to protest with my cumbersome banner that reads “What you gay people are doing is a sin against god… but not the homosexuality part, that’s fine… But the pride thing… did you not see Se7en?! Repent now before someone makes you cut of your nose! I don’t actually believe in the bible, but on the off-chance it is all real, it’s probably something you should consider. But if you’re confident in your atheism, enjoy your sodomy, it looks like you’re having a more enjoyable time than I am”
I’m not a popular person in Brighton. Mainly because they point out the seven deadly sins didn’t come from the bible. Them gay lads are pretty clued up. Except that smug prick Stephen Fry. He wears an ear-piece. He’s not as smart as he would have you believe on QI (2003-), he has a bunch of researchers giving him the answer. Also, in the same week as I came out to my dad as having Borderline Personality Disorder, Stephen Fry had made a documentary about it. So my dad informed me that my mental health condition was “really popular these days”. So fuck that twat. Well, both of them. You got to be General Melchett, WHERE’S MY DOCUMENTARY STEPHEN?! Cunt.

I digress. Sexuality is a spectrum, and you don’t know where you fall until you’ve stuck your toe in the water or your nose in the sphincter.
I’m a fussy eater, I don’t like the idea of curry, for example. And I’m constantly harassed by those around me into trying new foods. I don’t want to. So I don’t. My new response is “How do you know you don’t like anal sex if you haven’t tried?” The answer is invariably “Well, I just know”. That’s how I feel about food.

Anyway. My first penis was a nice young boy that we insensitively daubed “John the Bufte” which was a homophobic term of affection. John the Bufte and I had taken ecstasy, but I fancied him and initiated some sexual dalliances. We had a great time but I decided that it wasn’t really my thing. Sure, I love a Calippo as much as the next guy. It’s just not as much fun when it tastes like cock instead of orange.

Four years later, I was 22, dating a 31 year old woman (I will look out for your high-fives when we pass in the street). She had a flat mate that was 35. We all did a bunch of coke one night. I was dressed up in one of the nice skirts that she had bought for me and we were doing lots of messy sexual stuff.
I was unaware that while she was performing a sexual act on me that her male flatmate had joined our soiree. The two of them clearly had some history and it seemed like the right thing to do for this to get crazy. But the effects of cocaine can wear off quickly even if you’re a badass like me, so I soon sobered up and found myself in a situation to which I had not consented. Panic washed over me.
Thankfully I was a fit and strong young man who managed to force my way out of the restraints, and the room, and the house. But I found myself stranded in Shadwell wearing a long corduroy skirt and skimpy t-shirt in the middle of November. The next day I woke up with pink bondage tape still stuck to my wrist. That’s the memory that is burned in me. If you’ve seen Inside Out (2015), consider that one of my core memory cities.

I try not to think about it. It happened. I survived. More things happened than I would have liked. And it’s probably informed my sexual preferences that have led to further experiences with men, even though its women that my penis responds to.
My experience was mild yet terrifying. But as much as I drink or take drugs now I have an inbuilt flight response that can sense danger from two hours away, and I’ll bust out. I’ve still been in some bad situations since then. But I’ll shut a party down in an instant if I get a sense that something isn’t right because I vowed to never feel trapped like that again.

Have I told you enough to give credence to my opinion in this article? Possibly.
Is it a coincidence that my self-harming started shortly after this event? Unlikely.
Do I feel more confident in admitting that I was the victim of a sexual assault because it is more prevalent with what’s going on in the media at the moment? Definitely.
Do I want your sympathy, or for anyone I know to express their well-wishes or support? Absolutely not.
Are there going to be questions from my closest friends that I’ve never shared this with before? God I hope not.
Am I going to stop enjoying films made by people who have been the perpetrators of sexual assault? Fuck no. I love movies.

I FUCKING LOVE MOVIES. I don’t give a shit what you’ve done in your life. If you’ve created good art, I’m gonna lap that shit up. If that guy that did things to me that I did not want went on to make Where the Wild Things Are (2009) (It wasn’t Spike Jonze) I would still watch that every Christmas, I’d just cry a little bit harder. If that’s possible.
The World Trade Centre was a corporate office building containing bankers and insurance company executives. But all you’ll ever here is all about the innocent lives that were lost. If we were allowed to pick through their lives I’m confident that we’d find a majority of really shitty people.
They/We’re everywhere. Because this is the world we’ve all created.
You’re not taking True Romance away from me. Because…
You’re so cool.

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